Shire Settles TKT Suit, Roche and Ensemble Together Again, BSX Backs Neuromodulation Startup, & More Boston-Area Life Sciences News

11/13/08

Will “stapled peptides” be the next RNAi? This and other highlights from the last week in Boston-area life sciences news below.

—Former shareholders of Cambridge, MA-based Transkaryotic Therapies (TKT) reached a $567.5 million settlement with Irish drug maker Shire (LSE:SHP). The shareholders had originally objected to Shire’s 2005 takeover of TKT because they thought the $37 per share price was too low, but are now settling for that amount, plus interest.

—Rhode Island expatriate Ryan put together an interesting list of the firms leading the expansion of the Ocean State’s innovation economy. Among them, Providence-based “computational immunology” firm EpiVax and Lincoln-Based Neurotech Pharmaceuticals—itself an expat from France.

—Luke profiled Aileron Therapeutics’ efforts to turn “stapled peptides” into biotech’s next big buzzword, by showing that the specially engineered protein fragments can hit drug targets that traditional small-molecule and protein drugs cannot. The Cambridge, MA-based startup, which has raised $20 million since its launch in 2005, was formed around research from Harvard Medical School, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Harvard.

—Boston-based Oxford Bioscience Partners helped provide $12 million in Series A funding for Molecular Biometrics, which is developing testing technology to boost the success of in vitro fertilization. The Chester, NJ, startup plans to move to the Boston area early next year.

—Cambridge, MA-based Ensemble Discovery extended a deal forged in 2007 with Switzerland’s Roche to develop diagnostic tests to sort out which patients will and will not benefit from expensive cancer drugs such as Genentech and Roche’s trastuzumab (Herceptin) and ImClone Systems’ cetuximab (Erbitux). Financial terms were not disclosed.

—Natick, MA-based Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) led an equity round expected to total $11 million to $13.5 million in Intelect Medical. The Cleveland-based firm is developing an implantable neuromodulation system to aid recovery from stroke and traumatic brain injury.

—Thermo Fisher Scientific (NYSE:TMO) of Waltham, MA, acquired Raymond A. Lamb, of Eastbourne, U.K., a maker of histology and anatomical pathology lab products, for an undisclosed sum.

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